Oranga Tamariki

Oranga Tamariki is the government agency responsible for protecting and caring for tamariki who have been seriously harmed or are at risk of serious harm. The Chief Executive of Oranga Tamariki has the legal responsibility to protect children. In practice the work is carried out by social workers employed by Oranga Tamariki.

The Oranga Tamariki Act 1989 says what the social workers powers are. When Oranga Tamariki receive a report of concern, a social worker will carry out an investigation. The concerns for tamariki can range from allegations of neglect to allegations of physical, sexual, or emotional abuse.

The social workers response depends on the seriousness of what they find. Generally, the social worker will respond in one of four ways:

  1. 1. No evidence of harm is found. No action is taken, and the file is closed.
  2. 2. The social worker confirms that there are issues of concern for tamariki and works with the whānau to address the concerns.
  3. 3. The social worker confirms that there are issues of concern for tamariki.  The whānau and the social worker may reach agreement on what is to happen including applying to the Family Court for orders. Even if they don’t agree, the social worker may apply to the Family Court for orders.
  4. 4. The most serious response is when the social worker investigates and believes that tamariki have been or are at risk of serious harm. Urgent applications without notice to the whānau can be made to the Family Court.

Without Notice

Without notice means that whānau will not receive a copy of the application or know about the application until after a Family Court Judge has made a decision. If the Family Court Judge makes an order, it will be an interim care or protection order which means the order is temporary.

To summarise, when a social worker investigates a report of concern for tamariki the next steps can be: no action; working with whānau with no Family Court involvement, working with whānau alongside Family Court involvement or; in serious cases, asking the Family Court for urgent orders and then working with whānau.

More information about Oranga Tamariki

Oranga Tamariki

Family Group Conferences (FGC's)

FGC Care and Protection Co-ordinator

Access to tamariki in care

Subsequent children/tamariki

Special Guardianship

Information Sharing

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